The Rev. Samuel Ciccolini is now inmate No. 56055-060.
The Catholic priest from Akron who cheated on his taxes, committed banking fraud and embezzled from the Interval Brotherhood Home Foundation, began serving his six-month prison sentence this week at a minimum-security federal facility in Morgantown, W.Va.
The prison houses about 1,200 inmates and has the lowest security level among federal facilities. It has dormitory-style units.
Ciccolini, 70, who’s best known as “Father Sam,” probably will serve his entire sentence there because it’s so short, a federal prison spokesman said. He won’t be eligible for early release for good behavior because inmates must be sentenced to at least a year in custody to qualify.
Ciccolini ran the Interval Brotherhood Home, a drug and alcohol treatment center in Coventry Township, for decades. He was a beloved, high-profile figure in Akron.
His arrest in 2010 and the revelation he had amassed a personal fortune of more than $5 million shocked the community.
He was sentenced in early September to six months in prison and fined more than $830,000 for banking and income tax crimes. He wasn’t taken into custody immediately and was permitted to report to authorities this week.
Since the sentencing, his attorney had petitioned Judge James Gwin to allow Ciccolini to serve his sentence under home detention. That request was denied.
The banking charge stemmed from the priest making 139 individual bank deposits of less than $10,000 to avoid federal reporting requirements in 2003. He also filed a false tax return in 2004, but admitted other years were inaccurate, too.
Ciccolini also admitted he embezzled $1.28 million from the IBH Foundation, the nonprofit’s fundraising arm. The money was repaid after he was under investigation by federal authorities, and he never was charged with theft.
According to court records, federal authorities also have returned $3.8 million to the priest that they had been holding.
Robert Tayek, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, said Bishop Richard Lennon and his advisers will hold off determining Ciccolini’s status with the diocese until he is released from prison.
His status is “awaiting assignment.” He has been forbidden from saying Mass or hearing confessions.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com.